Help Me Choose: Oily Skin & Acne Skin Care

    Oily Skin & Acne-Prone Skin

    Your skin is covered in pores, tiny openings in the skin that are found all over the body except palms and soles. Each pore is simply the opening of a hair follicles and each follicle has the ability to grow one shaft of hair, whether that hair is visible or not.

    Every pore is technically a hair follicle that can produce sebum the natural skin oilSebaceous glands are usually attached to hair follicles and release a fatty, waxy substance called sebum into the follicular duct and on to the surface of the skin. Sebum helps lubricate our skin and keep the skin healthy and moisturized.

    Sebaceous glands are present all over our body (except the soles of the feet and palms) and are most abundant on the face and scalp.

    It is a common misconception that people with oily skin are automatically prone to acne breakouts. You can have beautifully smooth oily skin or dry skin that is acne-prone. While it’s true that natural excess oil, called sebum, can clog pores and cause acne, all skin types have the potential to be acne-prone.

    Oily skin, which often looks shiny and feels slick to the touch, is the result of excessive secretions of sebum, an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands. Oily skin tends to attract more dirt and dust than dry skin and may be prone to blackheads and acne.

    Acne, a condition that affects the skin’s oil glands, begins with a clogged pore. It is often caused by hormonal changes and bacterial infections in pores. As old skin cells die, they are normally sloughed off every month. If your skin is acne-prone, instead of sloughing off, the dead cell clog pores, trapping oil and bacteria inside. As the bacteria grow they can cause inflammation of the skin, leading to pimples.

    Soaps with Citrus Oils have been traditionally recommended for oily skin. They work by balancing skin oils, not by drying out your skin.

    For a more extensive list of soaps for oily skin please read, Help Me Choose Soap.


    Recommended For Oily Skin & Acne



    Oily Skin

    Natural Organic Bamboo Charcoal SoapOily skin is the result of excessive secretions of sebum, an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands.

    Oily skin tends to attract more dirt and dust than dry skin and may be prone to blackheads, acne, and excessive shine.

    Oily skin usually appears shiny and is characterized by a thicker feeling texture and large pores.

    People with oily skin struggle with keeping shine down during the day and often want to wash their faces often.

    There are a few misconceptions about oily skin. The first is that people with oily skin do not need a moisturizer. The second is they should be using products to "dry" up the oil. Neither of these is true.

    Skin needs proper hydration. It can actually become more oily without adequate moisture. A moisturizer helps prevent excess moisture loss. When oily skin becomes too dry, it can trigger even more oil production which only contributes to the problem.

    Sebum protects the skin and keeps it healthy as well as naturally plump and vibrant so you definitely do not want to strip it from your skin. Use skin care products that help remove excess surface oils without over-drying which again will only lead to more oil production.

    Characteristics of Oily Skin

    • Large, more visible pores
    • Shiny complexion
    • Blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes
    • Oiliness can vary depending on: time of year, weather, hormones



    Due to hormonal changes and genetics, acne can happen to anyone. Breakouts are also made worse by touching your face, popping or picking pimples, and washing with harsh products.

    Many people think that acne is simply pimples. But acne signs and symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition.

    Progression of Acne Formation on Facial Skin

    • Whiteheads: closed plugged pores or closed comedones
    • Blackheads: open plugged pores or open comedones (the oil turns dark when it is exposed to air)
    • Papules: small red, tender bumps
    • Pustules: these are what most people call pimples. They are papules with pus at their tips
    • Nodules: large, solid and hard, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin
    • Cystic Lesions: similar to nodules but they are softer and pus-filled (both nodules & cystic lesions can leave scars)

    Helping with Oily Skin & Acne



    Cleanse With Natural SoapIf your skin is oily, do not use soap that will dry out your skin. Use a gentle natural soap. A bar of natural soap with citrus essential oils like Aloe, Aloe, Aloe, or Lemon Lavender can help balance skin oils.

    We also recommend our Neem & Tea Tree and Seabuckthorn & Tea Tree Soaps. Tea tree helps heal infections and inflammation and fights acne without causing dryness or other side effects of modern-day acne treatments.

    The best soaps for acne are our Bamboo Charcoal Soap which contains tea tree essential oil, bamboo charcoal, sea salt, and bentonite clay, and our Sea Salt & Seaweed Soap which removes impurities, balances skin oil production and clarifies your complexion.

    Unlike most commercial oily skin and acne cleansers, our soaps are incredibly gentle and completely natural. Commercial soaps and body washes contain harsh detergents, fragrance oils, and other synthetic chemicals that can over-dry and irritate the skin. Always clean skin gently. Rough scrubbing will not decrease oil production and may even make the problem worse.



    HydrateWhile many folks with oily or acne-prone skin tend to shy away from moisturizing, it is actually a very important step. Even though our skin produces natural oil, it is not the same as hydration.

    A moisturizer helps increase the water content in the skin and prevents further moisture loss. When oily skin is dry, it can trigger even more oil production, thereby exacerbating the problem. But a moisturizer that slows the evaporation of moisture, actually causes sebum-producing cells to shut down.

    The main thing is to use the proper moisturizer for your skin. Stay away from petroleum-based products that contain mineral oils that can clog your pores and cause breakouts.

    The best face creams or face oils are those made with organic unrefined plant-based oils. Oils like argan (left) can actually help balance sebum production.

    To get the most out of a moisturizer, make sure that the skin is exfoliated and clean.



    Choose Natural MoisturizersPure, unrefined botanical oils are loaded with natural fatty acids that work with your skin to soften, soothe, and hydrate. They help balance excess sebum production while moisturizing your skin.

    For example, we use Jojoba Oil in all of our organic facial oils because it mimics our own natural sebum, restores pH balance to the skin, and helps dissolve pore-clogging sebum which helps reduce acne breakouts.

    Our most popular facial cream is our Whipped Squalane Face & Eye Mousse. Customer feedback shows that it works well for all skin types.

    For more information read "What Are Face Oils & How To Use Them"



    ExfoliateVERY gentle exfoliation encourages healthy skin turnover, sloughs away dead skin cells, unclogs pores, and removes the extra buildup that comes with oily skin.

    It is important to choose a very gentle natural scrub that will cause dryness or aggravate the skin. Excess exfoliation can cause the skin to dry out and produce even more oil.

    Be extra careful when scrubs using on facial acne. Massage gently and do NOT scrub the product into the facial skin. Although it seems like vigorous scrubbing would keep the pores unclogged thereby decreasing blackheads and pimples, the blockages that cause blemishes often occur deeper in the follicle, and excess surface scrubbing will simply irritate the skin

    Obviously, we recommend different products for facial and body exfoliation.

    Many of our natural soaps help with exfoliation. Our Adzuki Bean Complexion Soap provides very gentle exfoliation for the face a body.

    Loofah Adzuki Soap has the scrubbing power of shredded loofah and organic adzuki bean powder. Our scratchy Loofah Pumice Soap can also be used for thick dry scaly patches on elbows and knees, but be careful it is quite abrasive. 

    Our Organic body and facial scrubs, made with organic fair trade sugars, cleanse pores to stimulate dull, lifeless skin.

    For more information read our blog, "The Nitty Gritty of Exfoliation"



    Natural Clay Face MasksClay Face Masks can work wonders for your skin. The simple natural ingredients can help exfoliate and soften skin, draw out impurities, minimize pores, and remove excess surface oil.

    Activated Charcoal Clay Face Mask is especially good for oily and blemish-prone skin

    Activated Bamboo Charcoal is hugely popular in today’s beauty world—and for good reason! It’s a powerful ingredient that deeply cleans skin, drawing out even the most deep-seated impurities. Combined with both Bentonite and White Kaolin clays, this rich mask will help control oil production and target acne, leaving your complexion crystal-clear and purified.

    For more information read our blog "How To Use Clay Face Masks"



    Natural Organic Astringent Facial Tea Steam and TonerIf you are prone to mild acne steaming alone will not clear comedones (pore blockages), but the moisturizing heat can help increase circulation, open pores, and make your facial skin sweat.

    Using a facial steam before cleansing softens and helps release dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, and other impurities that can cause breakouts.

    If you have severe or cystic acne, heat may aggravate the condition. Check with your doctor before using a face steaming treatment. If steam is contraindicated, you can use an herbal tea as a toner.

    • opens pores and allows them to breathe
    • loosens debris and softens rough skin
    • promotes healthy circulation
    • hydrates skin, giving it a healthy glow

    Our Astringent and Problem Skin Blends also make great skin toners for those who should not use facial steams.

    Click here for Herbal Facial Steams & Toners recipes



    Bath SaltsWhile there is no research about the effectiveness of saltwater as a remedy for acne, it may be helpful for those with body acne.

    Salt baths help balance oily skin, help open and clean pores, and may help decrease bacterial that cause acne.

    Salt water will sting on any open area. Also be sure the saltwater is completely rinsed off.

    For more information read our blog "Organic Bath Salts & Recipes"

    It is important to remember that the overall health of your skin depends not only on your skincare routine, but also on your general health, diet, hormones, environment, stress levels.

    Things to Avoid


    The detergents used in many commercial soaps and acne cleansing products contain harsh detergents. These harsh detergents strip natural oils which dry out the skin. When oily skin is dry, it can trigger even more oil production, which exacerbates the problem.



    Many believe that drying out their oily skin will help decrease acne. However, oily skin is actually made worse by skin-drying or alcohol-based products, and harsh soaps or body washes. The chemicals in these products strip natural oils and dry out the skin, which then encourages the oil glands to produce more oil (sebum). It then becomes a vicious cycle.



    Comedogenic ingredients, such as mineral oil and other petroleum based ingredients, block pores and can lead to or exacerbate acne.



    Do not try to pop pimples. Not only will it not help the acne heal, it may actually spread the breakout underneath the skin.



    Pillow cases, sheets, and towels touch your skin every day. Avoid using strong, scented detergents to help reduce irritation and sensitivity. You should also change towels and pillowcases often to help avoid the spread of acne bacteria.


    Recommended For Oily Skin & Acne

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Which clay mask do I use if my skin is dry, oily and normal?

    Our face has different zones in which the skin can vary in thickness, texture, pore size and the number of oil-producing glands.

    Each zone may have very different needs and require individual attention.

    So, what happens if you have multiple facial skin issues, like dryness, oily spots, and blemishes?

    The answer is Multi-Masking . . .

    What is Multi-Masking

    Multi-masking is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of applying one face mask over your entire face, you apply different masks to different areas of the face in order to treat multiple skincare concerns at the same time.

    For more information please read our blog Multi-Masking and Targeted Application For Combination Facial Skin

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    What are essential oils?

    What Are Pure Essential Oils?

    Have you ever enjoyed the scent of a fragrant flower or herb? The fragrance comes from potent, aromatic compounds called essential oils found in the flowers, stems, seeds, bark, roots, fruits, and other parts of plants. It often requires several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil.

    Essential oils not only give plants their unique scents but also help lure plant pollinators and protect plants from insects and other predators.

    The chemical composition of essential oils may provide valuable psychological and physical aromatherapeutic benefits for some people.

    It is important to note that to be a true essential oil, the oil must be isolated from the plant material by physical means only. Essential oils are NEVER extracted using solvents.

    Although synthetic fragrances or "nature identical" oils are available at a much lower cost, only natural plant essential oils will provide any aromatherapeutic benefits.

    View related natural skin care blogs

    What Are Essential Oils (Much more detail)

    How Essential Oils Are Extracted

    Why We Use Only Real Plant Essential Oils?

    What is Aromatherapy?

    If you are pregnant or under a doctor's care for any medical condition, please consult your healthcare provider before using essential oils.

    Pregnancy & Children: We do not provide information on the safety of essential oils during Pregnancy or for use in Children because the available information is very ambiguous and often contradictory. If you’re interested in using essential oils during pregnancy or with young children please do your own research and consult your doctor, midwife, or health care professional before use.

    View Answer Page

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